Flying British Airways soon? The Unite trade union announced walkouts by its flight attendants for two consecutive weekends beginning this weekend. A three-day walkout on March 20 and a four-day stoppage from March 27 will leave passengers stranded.
In dealing with potential flight rescheduling, British Airways has already said that those already booked onto flights from March 19 to 31 could apply for a refund or reschedule for another flight on the same route up to 355 days in the future. But the cancellation and rebook are not reversible if you later find that your flight is actually on schedule. For any cancellation initiated by the company, by law the airline automatically offers passengers either a refund or a flight on a different route. For travelers with certain flexibility on flying schedules, it’s better to just sit tight and let the company reschedule you, instead of canceling it hastily, in case your original flight is unaffected.
As for now, the strikes are certain to go ahead unless talks between management and the union can yield some new compromise. The strikes have been timed to cause maximum disruption to the airline, now facing a struggle to reinstate timetables for before and after the strikes, because of the inevitable flight scheduling backlogs from during the strikes that have to be pushed either backward or forward.
The company is planning to operate a substantial proportion of the airline’s Heathrow airport long-haul operations and a good number of short-haul flights during the strikes. But is has admitted that there will be cancellations. The company is advising passengers on flights operating on strike dates to update their contact information in case a contact is needed.
Out of London City airport, the company will operate its entire schedule during the strikes, including long-haul services to New York. From London Gatwick, it plans to operate all long-haul services and about 50% of short haul. Any changes by passengers to bookings on those unaffected flights are still subject to the original fare rules. Flight numbers are all listed on the website.
Still the bad news is that there could be more strikes after April 14 if no deals have been reached. However, the union has guaranteed that there will be no strikes over the Easter holiday period. Understandably, bookings for British Airways flights have plummeted in recent weeks.
[Image: Alex E. Proimos/Flickr]